How Aid is Determined

Elmhurst College offers financial assistance to students on the basis of demonstrated need. Need is the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) and the expected family contribution (EFC).

Cost of Attendance-Expected Family Contribution=Financial Need
Cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses and transportation.The amount a family is expected to contribute to the student’s cost of attendance, as determined by the FAFSA. This number also determines a student’s eligibility for federal and state grant assistance.A student’s financial need is the student’s maximum eligibility for need-based financial aid, which includes grants, subsidized Stafford loans and work-study funds.

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance is an estimate of your total education-related expenses while you are enrolled at Elmhurst College.

When you think about what it costs to go to college, you probably think about tuition, room and board, and the invoice you receive from the College each term. However, the cost of attendance—sometimes also called the “student budget”—includes other expenses related to studying and living at college each year.

Some of these expenses, like tuition, are direct costs, for which you will receive a bill. Others are considered indirect costs: expenses you will have but that are not billed by the college (i.e., books, personal expenses, transportation, etc.).

Cost of attendance can vary by a student’s level (undergraduate vs. graduate) and living circumstances (on campus vs. off campus vs. commuting from home) and typically includes:

  • Tuition and mandatory fees: same rate for in-state or out-of-state students; charged based on your enrollment (full-time, part-time, etc.)
  • Room and board: allowance based on the student’s living circumstance (on-campus/off-campus/commuting) and expenses for food and utilities
  • Books and supplies: average cost of required course materials and school supplies (based on student-reported averages)
  • Personal expenses: incidentals and living expenses such as clothing, toiletries and entertainment. Estimate based on student-reported averages; individual spending habits vary
  • Transportation: allowance for travel expenses from your home to campus, if applicable
  • Loan fees: If you are borrowing any Federal Direct Stafford or Federal Direct PLUS loans, your cost of attendance will include an allowance for origination fees charged on these loans. Actual fee amounts will vary based on the type of loan and how much you borrow.

Three main reasons:

  • To determine your eligibility for need-based financial aid
  • To give you an estimate of total direct costs for the year
  • To set the limit on the total amount of financial aid and loans you can receive for the academic year (which federal regulations require us to do)

Expected Family Contribution

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an estimate of the amount your family will be expected to contribute to your annual college expenses. The EFC is calculated based on your family’s unique financial circumstances, as reported on your FAFSA.

If your EFC is equal to or greater than the Cost of Attendance, you will not qualify for need-based aid. In these cases, we may be able to recommend other financing options, such as unsubsidized Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, and private loans.

Financial aid is a partnership between Elmhurst College, the Department of Education and your family, and need-based aid is awarded to supplement your family’s ability to pay for college.

For eligible students, financial aid awards may include a combination of scholarships, grants, loans, and part-time student employment (e.g., work-study).

Financial aid will not always cover a student’s demonstrated need based on annual maximums set for funding programs and the availability of funds. Students who have charges remaining after their aid is applied to their account may utilize other funding options such as Unsubsidized Stafford loans, PLUS loans, private loans and payment plans.

You will need to reapply for financial aid every year, but if your family’s finances remain similar from year to year (same income/asset level, same number of dependents enrolled concurrently as undergraduates, etc.), you can usually expect a similar family contribution and aid package from year to year.

Changes to the number of siblings enrolled in college may affect your financial aid eligibility.

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